For something that’s called the “common cold”, it boggles the mind that we’ve yet to discover a cure for it. The condition is caused by over 200 virus strains, which renders anti-biotics an ineffective treatment. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults can expect to get about two colds per year. It is also the main reason for children missing school and adults skipping work. In fact, did you know that you can catch two colds at the same time?
The much-dreaded cold season means that in theory, you can experience more than one cold at any one time. In fact, the colder months are considered cold or flu seasons as people tend to spend more time indoors due to the cold weather, which translates to more time spent around others. Additionally, the flu viruses seem more stable and live longer in low temperatures. Kids also go back to school during this period, which exposes them to more viruses that they are likely not immune to. However, if you have been ill for a long time, it is more likely that you had one cold after the other instead of two simultaneously.
With a better understanding of the common cold, we can now look at ways to avoid catching this awful virus altogether. Being mindful about cleanliness and hygiene can help you prevent a cold. Washing your hands or getting a flu shot are ways to prevent a cold. Home remedies such as gargling salt water to ease a sore throat, drinking fluids to prevent dehydration, breathing in steam to relieve nasal congestion and sinus pressure as well as using a humidifier can also provide relief when you end up catching this confounded sickness.
Interestingly, knowing the right way to blow your nose is important too. Yes, there is a correct way of blowing your nose! To clear the nasal passages, you should block one nostril before gently blowing your nose. Afterwards, switch and block the opposite nostril and blow. Do not blow out from both nostrils and do not draw the leftover mucus back up as it can force it into the ears and lead to an earache.
While it is tempting to rest at home and avoid seeing the doctor, it is important to monitor your symptoms. If you are running a fever, in pain, or if your symptoms last over 10 days, please visit your local clinic as soon as you can.
A right diet can also help fend off these viruses by ensuring that your immune system is in good shape. Opt for healthy, plant-based food, exercise regularly, sleep well, and pay attention to your stress levels. While your appetite is more likely than not to be reduced after catching a cold, your body needs more energy to combat the infection. In fact, your body requires the most energy when you are running a fever. It is estimated that the amount of energy the adult body uses will increase by 13% for every 1°C increase in body temperature!
To feel better, drink ginger ale, herbal tea, honey and lemon tea, and more. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, energy drinks and soda should be avoided as they are dehydrating. Needless to say, alcohol should also be out of the question.
The common cold can dampen your spirits and cause numerous aches, so be sure to get plenty of quality rest to allow your body time to heal. If nothing else, take it as an opportunity to catch up on that book you left halfway or finish up that puzzle you got as a gift. Being stuck in bed doesn’t mean you have to give up on fun entirely!